‘Edward Scissorhands’ #1 is an Atmospheric Treat

EdwardScissorhands01-cvrRI-ae835Edward Scissorhands #1
Written by Kate Leth
Art by Drew Rausch
Published by IDW

24 years after the original film, Kate Leth and Drew Rausch continue the story of everyone’s favorite black wearing, hair dressing, tears inducing unlikely fairy tale hero. Edward Scissorhands #1 is set many years after the film, and Megs, the daughter of Kim (played by Winona Ryder) is now a teenager. Edward Scissorhands is considered to either be a murderer or a myth, and Kim’s own daughter considers her to be insane. Leth and Rausch explore his character through his interactions with Eli, one of the Inventor’s long forgotten inventions. They also introduce readers to Megs, an impetuous teen, who is fascinated with her grandmother and Edward. Edward Scissorhands #1 has a slow burning plot, but Rausch fills each panel with beauty and sadness. As a colorist, he uses mainly blacks and whites for the scenes with Edward and slightly mutes the bright, sunny palette of the film in the Megs scenes to show the passage of years. But the best part of the comic is how Kate Leth nails Edward’s laconic, friendly voice and lets Rausch’s facial expressions do the heavy lifting. She also makes Megs’ mom sympathetic even though they get in several big fights.

In Edward Scissorhands #1, Kate Leth demonstrates she has a real handle on the characters and world. Edward’s castle is a masterpiece of Gothic beauty thanks to Drew Rausch’s art, and there is just the right amount of manicured shrubs in the garden. She also chooses Edward’s words carefully making sure each time he opens his mouth has emotional resonance. The scene where he names the little, silent mechanical boy Eli is quite touching, and Rausch gives Edward a little, sweet smile that almost made me cry. But Edward Scissorhands isn’t all sadness and sweetness. Leth captures the voice of the curious teenage outsider in Megs, who is not a Kim clone, and is much more assertive and extroverted in the early going. Megs’ actions in the story will remind readers of discovering an old story and obsessing over it years after the rest of the world has moved on. Her wide eyed nostalgia can act as a commentary on fandom and is an additional layer to the main fairy tale mystery plot of Edward Scissorhands #1.

For fans of Nightmare before Christmas, Corpse BrideFrankenweenie, or any of Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s animated films, Edward Scissorhands #1’s art will be a treat. Drew Rausch’s figures have the expressive eyes and weird body shapes as well as the play between light and darkness that has characterized the style of many of Burton’s films. There are a few discrepancies in Rausch’s art, like Edward’s face sometimes fluctuating from page to page, but this can have a storytelling purpose, like his misty black eyes symbolizing how much he misses Kim. Also, using this Burton-esque style for characters like Megs, her mom, and her schoolmates, makes them seem just as “different” as Edward. However, other things in his art, like using a tepid mix of yellows, browns, and blue in contrast with the stark black and white of Edward’s castle does set them apart. And the exaggerated facial expressions, especially during the argument between Megs and her mom contrasts it with the gentle pace of Edward’s activities and speech. In  its setting, characterization, and especially art, Edward Scissorhands #1 recaptures the dark fairy tale tone of the original film and adds mystery and nostalgia elements to set it apart and make it stand alone as a story.

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